Tuesday, June 25, 2013

June 25, 2013

Dear Family,
Let me set the record straight. There was only one roach. People told us similar stories of roaches coming in heinous packs, but Roachy worked alone. He was caught on a glue trap last week, may he rest in peace. We then proceeded to spray all of our baseboards so hopefully there won't be anymore bug problems any time soon.
We got to see the broadcast too, and it was so cool! I get to be a technology missionary now! Yay! Well hopefully, it all depends on what they say to my mission president, and what rules are set up and stuff, but I'm still super pumped. That's super cool that you guys all got to be there for the actual devotional!
I'm so excited for Jodi and Jake! Ah! I can't believe they're almost married! Tell them good luck for me when you see them :)
I'm going to try to answer some of the questions you had in the previous emails, but that will have to wait for next week. As for the transportation, we have had a car all along, her name is Sheila. We inherited her from the ZLs, and she came with the name. Weird. It's a nice car though, so no complaints.
We are teaching three people who are preparing for baptism, and hopefully they are all baptized in July! I'll have to tell you more about all of them next week, because they are all super awesome.
Sister Harker and I are the furthest sister missionaries out this way in our mission, the next closest to us are in Magnolia Arkansas. There are four sets of missionaries in our ward though, which is the most in one ward in the entire mission! The zone leaders work on the Arkansas side, the district leader and his comp are on the Texas side, the sisters are in Wake Village/ Nash/ Red Lick which are on the Texas side, and then we have a set up in Ashdown. BIG area, but there's been some crazy ward boundary stuff going on (no time tell you next week).
Next week is transfer week so I will be emailing on either Tuesday or Wednesday (I can't remember which). I don't think Harker will be leaving, but idk. As for the package, if you haven't sent it yet, could you possibly wait to send it until after my email next week? I know there was something I was going to ask about, but I can't quite remember it right now... Haha but if you have already sent it no big deal :)

I have the most bestest family in the whole world, I love you all so much!
Sister Markle

June 17, 2013 "The Darkest Day"

Dear Family,
I was just attacked by a cockroach. In the comfort of my own apartment. Today is the Darkest Day. Our tale begins last week. It was a Thursday. I was sitting on the coach, reading my scriptures like a good little missionary, when Sister Harker screamed from the bathroom. Yes, she had seen a roach. She tried to kill it, but alas it was too quick. Over the next two days, she saw it three times; once the roach was even hiding within the toilet paper roll, and she received quite the fright whilst on the john. I proceeded to calling it Roachy, which then invariably became Roachy-kins, which then grew into the theme song "Oh Roachy-kins" sung to the tune of "Oh Christmas Tree." You see, while the roach remained a distant threat to me, I was free to treat it as a laughing matter. This is no longer the case. I even joked that we just needed to find a good roach family to fellowship Roachy back into the wild, you know, Roach Retention. Anyways. Never ask Elders for advice on pest control, because they will invariably give you terrible advice.  Always. Did Sister Harker smear peanut butter on a paper towel and leave it by Roachy's hiding place? Yes. Did we believe that because we didn't see Roachy at all yesterday that he had consumed peanut butter and proceeded to die within his hidey hole? Yes. This is no longer the case. After brushing my teeth this morning, I reached for my towel to wipe the water from my face; never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined the scene that was about to unfold. As I grabbed the corner of my towel, our dear friend Roachy-kins fled from within it's folds. What happened next is a blur, but my fight or flight instincts might have kicked in, and I might have ran backwards, and might have tripped into my bathtub, and might have hit my head really hard against the side of the tub. Evidently this was hysterical to Sister Harker. I find no humor in this. Roachy-kins almost killed me, and now he must die.
On a lighter note, Gators and Friends was super fun. It was like a million-dy degrees outside, so we were sweating like a banshee, but it was super fun. Alligators actually smell like disgustingly horrifically terrible, BUT I got to hold a baby gator (aka like 4 years old) so it was worth it. They fed all the gators while we were there, and I took a video for all of you, but the video is actually horrifically boring so if I send it, you need to watch it at ten times the speed.
I finally watched the video Katie was in, but she's only in it for like 3 seconds. It's in the In-Field Training stuff online, so I'll email her my password so she can check it out.
It turns out that the daughter of the family we are teaching moved out. Weird situation, but we're trying to work with it. We started teaching a lady named Angela who lives in the same trailer park as them, and she committed to baptism too. Her Aunt is a super funny 85 year old in the ward, so we met Angela while there. Angela has had many interesting visionary experiences that I will have to tell you about some time. She was supposed to come to church yesterday, but didn't so we're going to have to check it out.  Also, there's a cute little 10 year old from a part member family who wants to be baptized, so we're going to start teaching her as well. While over at their house yesterday (the Whites) I saw that they had this bookshelf. Filled with books. A lot of the missionaries are tempted when we're places with sports on TV, but this is not the case for me. Instead I'm distracted by books. Typical.
Of course I knew if someone had died that you would tell my mission president, but I'm all the way out in Texas, so it's kind of hard to make it out here, but there was zone conference coming up, so theoretically I would be told about it then. Hahaha it's not like I "for real" thought someone had died, it was just one of the theories, and it's not like I had much time to develop theories, and this one was the most exciting so it got the most attention. ANYWAYS I'm almost out of time and will send my pics separately.
 I love you all! Stay away from cockroaches!
Sister Markle

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

June 12, 2013

Yay! I got this email and the two about me not getting your emails that came in the compilation letter you sent. So I guess it's working now? It was funny because I was sending a letter to let you all know that I got the bike, dropped it in the out box looked in the mailbox and found your jumbo letter. So the next day I had to send a response to let you know I was happy you've actually been writing me, and make requests for the package. Dropped it in the outbox looked in the mailbox and saw the package slip. I just have horrible timing all around. Haha I don't know if you've gotten either of those two letters yet, but basically I was kinda thinking someone had died in the family, and you weren't writing me out of sadness, so dad was assigned to write me instead, because he was better at coping. Ya... I have an overactive imagination. Not my fault.
Riding a bike in a skirt is not pleasant business, don't let anyone tell you differently. Remember how I brought pretty full skirts so that I wouldn't have to worry about getting on the bike/ pedalling? WELL they make it a sketchier business because the wind likes to whip them up, and the clothespins that we were told is the secret, haven't functioned appropriately yet. Also mounting and dismounting the bike will never look lady like, and is likewise sketchy. Add in to the mix a helmet, and I'm truly a lost cause. Regardless of the black marks against the experience, I thoroughly enjoy riding my bike. Probably because I have a basket. It's the deciding factor. I will attach a photo so as to facilitate proper mockery of my dorkiness.
I planned to bring all your letters here so that I could answer your questions, but we're kinda at the Shreveport library today so that didn't happen... Remember how I said that we would be in Shreveport for Zone Conference on Monday and Tuesday? You shouldn't, because I didn't. I remedied this slight in the aforementioned letter, but like I said, I don't know if it's there yet. Zone Conference was technically just Monday, but yesterday we had the trainer/trainee meetings, and the Sister's Meeting so we stayed an extra night. I don't think they had sister's meetings while Katie was out, but with STLs (sister training leaders) now and a lot of sisters, we have them. Lots of learning, lots of fun. We got to stay with the Shreveport sisters again (they were the ones we stayed with during the tornado), and it was super fun. They're great. We were supposed to make the two hour drive back to Texarkana yesterday, but one of our zone leaders is leaving at the end of this transfer and still hasn't seen an alligator, so it was decided that we have to go to Gators and Friends (it's a kind of exotic zoo in Louisiana). The sister's meeting took super long though, so we couldn't go yesterday, but the APs said we could stay an extra night and go today! Yay! Today is technically P Day, so that's why this all works out. I'm super excited, and you can expect some great pictures next week.
Due to all this, this has been a super weird week for missionary work. Like on Saturday. We went and visited a lady from the New Boston ward (I don't know if I explained this, but a lot of our area belongs to our neighboring ward. There are four sets of missionaries in the Texarkana ward, which is A LOT, and I think New Boston has two sets. Nothing has gone down yet, but we think we are the prelude to some ward boundry changes. A lot of people in our area stopped going to church, because they have to go to New Boston which is thirty minutes away, while the Texarkana ward is only like five minutes. We have permission to let people go to the Texar ward. It's weird and confusing) back to the original story. We were visiting a lady from the New Boston ward who would be super active, but can't because she has to take care of a 93 year old lady, and can't leave her to drive all the way out there. While we were visiting we heard a loud crash. Yes, the frail 93 year old lady had gotten out of bed and then tripped and broke her hip. We held her legs while her caretaker called an ambulance. It was really weird. A lot of paramedics showed up, and we felt super awkward, and then awkwardly left and hopped on our bikes. Weird.
We visit a lot of elderly. There is a 98 year old that we visit each week, Sister Shoto, and she's technically less active, but she's insanely old which is why she doesn't make it to church. We love her. She's pretty deaf, but she's great. Also, that family I told you about in my last email? The ones we were teaching/ have baptismal dates for? Well the daughter was supposed to show up for church on Sunday, and when she wasn't there we called her mom to find out what was up. She told us that her daughter had moved out last night (mind you we had been there the day before, and everything was fine), and then said they weren't going to church that day, and then awkwardly said bye. Weird. When we get back, we're going to have to figure out what on Earth is happening over there.
The package was great, but the brownies didn't technically survive... they tasted super funny, so I think they might have been baked a few extra times in transit. Thank you for everything though!!! Tell Kami I am super proud of her about dance, especially for winning the scholarship! Kami is pretty much the coolest person I know times ten. Rachel is awesome, we never had choir together (I don't sing..) but we did have English together in 9th grade. We were in the same group for a Romeo and Juliet project. So obviously she was Tinkerbell, and I was Captain Hook. Speaking of which, the green bridesmaid dress that used to be in our dress-up bucket is still in her possesion from that project, so you can tease her about that. That's so sad to hear about Brother Dryer! I love their family, and will keep them in my prayers.
Tell Nicholle good work! Every member a missionary! Missionary work really goes so much better if there is ward support!
I love you all so much, and miss you!
-Sister Markle

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Monday, June 3, 2013

Dear Family,

Congrats to Kami, and thanks for taking care of the bike! It looks real pretty, I'm one spoiled missionary. Haha now I'll just have to find a heavy duty basket and my life will be complete! I might look into a rack though since my basket chances look pretty slim... I'll just call Walmart everyday starting Wednesday, no problem. Thanks again! Haha stop stalking my card, I had to use it to end off last month because they didn't give the new missionaries very much money on our mission cards. It would have been fine if I was just buying food, but I had to get sheets, and random stuff for the apartment because we were opening the new area. I don't need a SD card reader anytime soon, so I can wait. Thanks for everything!
That's funny that you all went to Antelope Island, because we were actually talking to this older couple who got back from a trip to Utah a couple weeks ago, and they were telling us about the ranch there/ Brigham Young's cattle that he kept there. They travelled all over Utah, and were referred to us by temple square. They're Methodist, but are super interested in Church history, so we'll see if we can swing that interest into an interest for the Church itself... Haha we'll see.
This week has been great, we were able to visit a lot more less active members, and I also had my first real teaching experience! That was exciting. We started teaching the M's, who are a super awesome part member family that has recently started going to church due to the influence of a ward member who works with Brother M. The family is super prepared, and have their eyes set on the temple, it's just maintaining focus that gets a little tricky. It was hard to get through the first lesson due to distractions (four cats, phone calls, random side conversations), but we invited the Spirit and he committed to baptism! He wasn't ready to pick a day yet, so during the second lesson I steered the topic back to baptism so we could talk about it again (I totally used Katie's visual aid for the Plan of Salvation). Surprisingly not only did he commit to be baptized on the 22, but so did their 19 year old daughter, who we didn't even know wasn't a member. That's why it was so important that we taught by the Spirit, a lesson we thought was just for the father, ended up being something for the whole family. Super cool. 
We had our first experience tracting this week, and it actually went pretty well. So far we've only gone once, and only for like an hour, but we found an awesome family that moved in last year who "felt more welcome by us than by the church they've been going to" so she said we could expect to see them on Sunday. We didn't, but they seem like such a cute/nice little family that we're planning on stopping by again sometime to share more. Who knows, maybe they're just really nice, or maybe they are ready for more. I'll keep you posted.
Tell Katie I got her card, and it made me happy :) Haha it had a bunch of random stuff inside, but it was fun to get something in the mail! Plus we're thinking about setting up a few church tours for some investigators, so the information is actually pretty useful. Good work. I love you all so much!
-Sister Markle